'St. Louis Is Special': Folk Band Dubb Nubb Traces Its Roots

click to enlarge Dubb Nubb started with sisters Hannah and Delia Rainey, but has grown to include Todd Anderson and John Hamms. - SHAWN DURHAM
Dubb Nubb started with sisters Hannah and Delia Rainey, but has grown to include Todd Anderson and John Hamms.

The Dubb Nubb band members can tell you many things, but one is for sure: There is no music scene like St. Louis’.

A local folk band, Dubb Nubb has been playing for over a decade in the area, with brief pauses to pursue other dreams. Started by twin sisters Delia (who has written for the RFT) and Hannah Rainey as teenagers, the band now includes the sisters plus Todd Anderson on bass and John Hamms on drums. To this reporter, the band oozes cool and kindness, which seeps through the screen as the interview goes on.

Their friendship and mutual admiration is apparent from the moment the band starts talking about each other and their work.

“I think it's really cool that because of the St. Louis music scene I met both of these people,” Hannah says, referring to Hamms and Anderson. “Because I would never have known them if it wasn't for playing shows.”

Originally, however, Dubb Nubb was just Delia and Hannah, two high school girls playing shows at the since-closed coffee shop Foam, different locations on Cherokee Street or even the occasional house show, something that doesn’t happen very often in the city anymore due to COVID.

The band eventually gained an additional member when the sisters moved to Columbia for college — another Rainey sister — and had a couple others play with them, but they slimmed back down to just the two in 2016 to 2018. Within that time period, Anderson made his Dubb Nubb debut.

Jokingly referred to as a superfan, Anderson played bass while they had Andrew O’Neill as a drummer. Delia moved to Chicago in 2018, and for a brief stint, Dubb Nubb was on hiatus. When she returned from Chicago, though, the two sisters began to have discussions about what a full band would be like. Including Anderson and then Hamms was an “obvious choice,” Delia says.

The four “started playing together, and it just really clicked,” Delia tells the RFT. Anderson had just moved back from Oregon when the sisters reached out to him. Portland’s musicians, Anderson says, have “the great gear, and they look great,” but he didn’t see people hanging out and chatting “and just having fun and goofing off afterwards, so it wasn't the same kind of vibe [as St. Louis.]”

“...Not too long after I got back and after stuff started opening again, Hannah texted and was like ‘We're gonna play a show; you want to play bass? And I said ‘Yes, please,’” Anderson says. “It's just a lot of fun, very low pressure, and I just really like the music.”

Hannah and Hamms had previously played in a different band together, but he says this time feels different — more freedom and it’s fun to work together. Crafting new music usually stems from the Rainey sisters writing separately, bringing what they wrote to practice and playing around with it. Once their Monday night practices come around, the band figures out what they'll play based on what the Rainey sisters have written, and sometimes, superfan Anderson will ask to play a song from 2011. Anderson will suggest the song, or they’ll goof around and try new things out.

Dubb Nubb hopes to focus on recording an album this year. They’ve got multiple shows lined up this summer — and have already performed a few times, including their traditional Dubb Nubb Fest, a show the sisters organize each year with their friends — but hope to buckle down sometime later this year and record something.

The sisters haven’t released an album since 2015, and they’re ready to put one out in the world. It won’t take long once they get started, the sisters say, and the album that comes out should sound similar to one of their practices — a low stakes, fun record where they’ll get to try new things.

While COVID has challenged the St. Louis music scene with bands breaking up or moving away, Delia says Dubb Nubb is navigating its newfound challenges as well.

“[The music scene] feels like a community, and it feels like a little more scattered now because of COVID,” Hannah says. “We’re trying to figure out how the community works now.”

Hamms says he’s found a home in the scene, saying that it’s amazing you can go somewhere and everybody knows and is comfortable with each other. The scene is “really special, small, cute and nice,” he says.

“St. Louis has something special,” Anderson affirms.

Catch Dubb Nubb this summer at the Riverfront TimesArt A’Fair on Thursday, June 23. Tickets cost $25 online and at the door. Read more about it here.

About The Author

Jenna Jones

Jenna Jones is the Audience Development Manager for Euclid Media Group and Harry Styles' biggest fan.
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